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Anna Comnena, 12th century princess and writer

Anna Comnena – Europe’s First Woman Historian

Birth and Early Expectations Anna Comnena was the first child of the Eastern Roman emperor, Alexios I Comnenus, born Dec. 1st, 1083 and named after Alexios’s mother, the determined Anna Dalassena. Her father soon betrothed her to Constantine Ducas, the son of a prior emperor, Michael VII Ducas. Young Constantine’s

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marble slab in the Hagia Sophia bearing the name of Enrico Dandolo

Alexios I Comnenus, Economics & Long Term Consequences

Alexios I could not have anticipated this result when he signed his agreement with Venice in 1082. Guiscard’s menace was immediate and he had to address it, however he could manage it. Still, if Alexios’ understanding of economics had been better, he might have agreed to the concessions for a period of time, perhaps 10-20 years, limiting its impact on both the Byzantines and Venetians.

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Emperor Justinian I

Worst Riots Ever

This week marks 1,485 years since some of the worst rioting the world has ever seen – the Nika riots that began on Jan. 13, 532 and lasted for five days.

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Museum of Great Palace Mosaics - man with green beard

Museum of Great Palace Mosaics

Little remains of the Great Palace’s legendary buildings aside from part of a wall from the Bukoleon palace. However, the Museum of the Great Palace Mosaics houses some of the remaining mosaics unearthed by archeologists from where it once stood.

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Hagia Irene - mosaic cross in the dome

Hagia Irene

Hagia Irene had an eerie feel to it the overcast day we visited. With only one other visitor there, the birds swooping above us far outnumbered the people. It doesn’t take long to visit Hagia Irene, but if you have the time, I recommend it.

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the Theodosian Walls, Constantinople

The Theodosian Walls

The greatest defensive element of the city of Constantinople were its walls, called the Theodosian Walls after the Emperor Theodosios, during whose reign the walls were built.

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Pantokrator Church & Monastery (now the Zeyrek Mosque)

The Pantokrator Monastery

We visited the Pantokrator Church & Monastery (now the Zeyrek Mosque) on a rainy day in March. Empress Irene, the wife of John II Comnenus, began the building of the monastery and church on a hill close to the Blachernae Palace. Her husband finished it after her death in 1134. Irene was a Hungarian princess, and both husband and wife are Orthodox saints.

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